AflamNa / Fatima Mernissi Leerstoel

A Woman's Eye The world seen by female (Arab) directors

A Woman's Eye
A Woman's Eye


A Woman's Eye. The world seen by female (Arab) directors

In the film industry gender equality is far from achieved. Between 2006 and 2018, only two in ten Flemish films were produced by a woman. Similar figures apply for the rest of the world. Yet, slow but steady, an upward trend can be observed: in the last few decades for example, the Arab world has welcomed numerous talented female directors. Not only are they taking the lead in a male-dominated industry, they are also telling stories that otherwise would remain untold.

For this evening, three women delve into their work. With their North African and Middle Eastern film excerpts (Adam (2019), by Maryam Touzani and Hava, Maryam, Aeysha (2019) by Sahraa Karimi), they will discuss gender stereotyping, cultural taboos and their own experience as a director or film programmer.

20:00 - Welcome by Iman Lechkar

20:10 - Conversation with Rachida El-Garani, Maryam Kamal Hedayat and Mahdieh Fahimi, moderated by Habiba Boumaâza

21:15 - 21:30 - Questions from the audience

The Fatima Mernissi Chair is an initiative of RHEA - Research Centre Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality, in collaboration with Crosstalks. This fall, the Fatima Mernissi Chair will dedicate a series of activities to women in film, going from film screenings to interviews and debates with female film directors and programmers. While focusing on films of the Maghreb and the Middle East, the Fatima Mernissi Chair will create space to discuss themes such as power, sexuality and gender stereotypes. The series is organized with the financial support of Darna.

Maryam K. Hedayat is a filmmaker, writer, curator and dramaturg. After studying Language and Literature at the University of Antwerp and Film Direction at LUCA School of Arts in Brussels, she focused on making short films, short documentaries and video installations. She also writes essays and journalistic articles that have previously appeared in rekto:verso magazine, Mo magazine, De Standaard and Deus ex Machina, among others. In 2019, Hedayat and other directors founded Wanda, an action group for Flemish directors that fights for more inclusion and diversity in the film industry. In 2020, she started working part-time as a city curator at ARGOS, a center for audiovisual arts in Brussels. There she brings together her artistic practice with her love for film and the socio-artistic through the projects she shapes. After participating in the screenplay workshop of the Flemish Audiovisual Fund, Hedayat began working on the screenplay for her first feature film.

• Mahdieh Fahimi is born in Belgium but grew up in Iran. As a young adult, she returned to Belgium and obtained a master's degree in visual arts from LUCA School of Arts in Ghent in 2018.  Since then, she has been actively writing and reflecting on film, mainly but certainly not limited to films and creators from the MENA region. She is currently also co-host of Kuleshov, the Ghent radio program about film, and she is member of the programming advisory team of the MOOOV film festival.

• Iman Lechkar is Professor of Islam and Gender and chair holder of the Chair Fatima Mernissi at the VUB. As a sociocultural anthropologist, she has specialized in research on Islam, religion, secularism, gender and citizenship. With her course Islam and Gender, Lechkar broadens the view of students by combining different intellectual and historic traditions. With the Fatima Mernissi activity series, she helps shape the social debate around Islam, minorities, power and gender.